Given the rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic, The Synergist provided early digital access to the cover article for our May 2020 issue. This article discusses, in question-and-answer format, aspects of COVID-19 believed to be relevant to industrial hygienists and the overall health and safety community. Read "COVID-19 and the Industrial Hygienist" now.

As industrial hygienists mobilize to address the most severe public health crisis of our lifetimes, Synergist staff remain committed to sharing practical knowledge, guidance, and perspectives from IH leaders and respected authorities. Synergist coverage of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is collected below.

OSHA's Revised Enforcement Policies Address In-Person Inspections, Recordkeeping
May 21, 2020
Two revised policies issued by OSHA address enforcement of the agency’s requirements with respect to coronavirus as states’ economies begin to reopen across the United States. READ MORE

CDC Specifies Health and Safety Actions for Reopening Businesses
May 21, 2020
As jurisdictions across the United States ease pandemic restrictions and workplaces emerge from weeks-long lockdowns, new guidance from CDC provides a “menu” of recommendations for maintaining the health and safety of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

NIOSH Issues Alert About Damaged Head Straps on Stockpiled FFRs
May 21, 2020
Users of previously stockpiled NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirators should visually inspect each respirator prior to putting it on due to concerns that the head straps and filtering material may have degraded, the agency said in a notice published to its website. READ MORE

NIH Issues Alert on Preventing SARS-CoV-2 Eye Exposures
May 21, 2020
A new health and safety alert from the National Institutes of Health raises awareness about the need to protect workers’ eyes from exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC, OSHA Issue Guidance for Manufacturing Facilities Operating During the Pandemic
May 21, 2020
New guidance published by CDC and OSHA is intended to help employers decrease the spread of COVID-19 in manufacturing facilities. Several factors affect workers’ risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in manufacturing workplaces. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: OSHA Sued, Research Partnership Formed, and More
May 21, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC, NIOSH Address Pitfalls of Purchasing Respirators Manufactured Abroad
May 14, 2020
As healthcare facilities in the United States face respirator shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, some employers and local health departments are seeking to replenish supplies by purchasing respirators manufactured in other countries. But careful vetting is necessary to ensure these respirators are as protective as NIOSH-certified devices, according to new guidance released by CDC. READ MORE

FDA Reissues Emergency Use Authorization for Respirators from China
May 14, 2020
On May 7, the Food and Drug Administration reissued its April 3 Emergency Use Authorization governing the use of non-NIOSH-approved, Chinese-manufactured filtering facepiece respirators for healthcare settings in the U.S. The change revokes authorization for several respirator models previously approved for emergency use. READ MORE

OSHA Highlights Protective Measures for Dental Practitioners During COVID-19 Pandemic
May 14, 2020
A new alert published by OSHA lists measures that employers can take to help protect dental practitioners from occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC Guidance Aids Response Planning for Critical Infrastructure Sectors During COVID-19
May 14, 2020
CDC has released guidance intended to help employers in critical infrastructure sectors continue operations to the greatest extent possible during the global COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Essential Worker Fatigue, Fatalities in New York, and More
May 14, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC Publishes Instructions for Optimizing Disposable Glove Supply
May 7, 2020
With critical medical supplies dwindling, CDC has released instructions intended to help federal, state, and local public health officials and healthcare leaders optimize their stocks of disposable medical gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

Large Gatherings, Workplace Spread Contributed to Thousand-Fold Increase in COVID-19 Cases
May 7, 2020
Over a three-week period from late February to early March the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States increased more than one thousand-fold, according to a new report from CDC. READ MORE

NIOSH Is Prioritizing New Respirator Approval Applications
May 7, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NIOSH has informed respirator manufacturers that the agency’s Respirator Approval Program is prioritizing particulate filtering respirator approval applications submitted by existing approval holders and new domestic respirator manufacturers or applicants. READ MORE

CDC Extends Recommended Isolation Time for Persons with COVID-19 to Ten Days
May 7, 2020
CDC has extended its recommended period of isolation for individuals with COVID-19 from seven to ten days, according to updated guidance released May 3. The change reflects new evidence suggesting a longer period of viral shedding. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Disinfection Guidance, PPE Burn Rate, and More
May 7, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

Executive Order Keeps Meat Processing Facilities Open
April 30, 2020
An executive order signed April 28 by President Trump ensures that meat and poultry processing facilities will remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite outbreaks of disease at several plants across the country. READ MORE

OSHA Issues Enforcement Guidance for Reuse of Decontaminated N95s
April 30, 2020
A temporary enforcement memorandum from federal OSHA outlines conditions under which employers may reuse N95 filtering facepiece respirators that have been decontaminated. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Hospital Capacity Estimates, “Immunity Passports,” and More
April 30, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC Publishes Strategies for Use of Elastomeric Respirators During COVID-19 Pandemic
April 23, 2020
As supplies of N95 respirators run low in healthcare facilities overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, many are turning to other respiratory protection devices. Now, CDC has published strategies facilities can use to conserve elastomeric respirators, which are at least as protective as N95s and, in some cases, have a higher assigned protection factor. READ MORE

OSHA Compliance Officers to Use “Discretion” When Enforcing Standards
April 23, 2020
An April 16 OSHA memorandum to regional administrators advises agency compliance officers to use their discretion when enforcing OSHA standards due to the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

Interim Recommendations from CDC Cover Cleaning, Disinfection for Nonemergency Vehicles
April 23, 2020
Interim recommendations published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focus on the cleaning and disinfection of nonemergency transport vehicles, including passenger vans, accessible vans, and cars, following the transport of people who are known or suspected to have COVID-19. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Disinfecting Elastomeric Respirators, Reducing Cashiers’ Exposures, and More
April 23, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

NIOSH Creates “PAPR100” Class of Respirator
April 16, 2020
An interim final rule published by NIOSH April 14 in the Federal Register creates a new class of powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) that may be better suited to the needs of workers in the healthcare and public safety industries who require protection from COVID-19, according to an agency press release. READ MORE

Labor Department Releases Interim Guidance for Recordkeeping During COVID-19 Pandemic
April 16, 2020
The U.S. Department of Labor has released interim guidance for enforcing OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements relating to cases of COVID-19. Under the new guidance, employers are responsible for recording confirmed cases of COVID-19 contracted under circumstances related to the employees’ work. READ MORE

COVID-19 Webinar: IH Shares Best Practices for Protecting Healthcare Workers
April 16, 2020
A webinar held April 15 by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences featured practical information for minimizing healthcare workers’ exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Jim Chang, CIH, of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, discussed ways to isolate COVID-19 patients and minimize contacts between patients and healthcare workers. READ MORE

CDC Permits “Critical” Workers to Continue Working After Exposure to COVID-19
April 16, 2020
Interim guidance issued by CDC on April 9 allows “critical infrastructure workers” to continue to work following potential exposure to COVID-19 as long as they do not exhibit symptoms of the disease and additional precautions are taken to protect them and the community. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: N95 Decontamination Methods, Elastomeric Respirators Webinar, and More
April 16, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

OSHA Allows Extended Use and Reuse of Respirators During COVID-19 Crisis
April 9, 2020

OSHA compliance officers may use their discretion to permit the extended use and reuse of respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to interim guidance issued on April 3. READ MORE

NIOSH Study of Stockpiled Respirators May Inform Decisions to Release Expired N95s
April 9, 2020

Faced with a shortage of respiratory protective devices during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States government is considering whether to release N95 filtering facepiece respirators that have exceeded their manufacturer-designated shelf life from some U.S. stockpiles. READ MORE

CDC Recommends Use of Cloth Face Coverings During COVID-19 Pandemic
April 9, 2020

New guidance from CDC recommends that members of the public use cloth face coverings in public settings such as grocery stores where social distancing is difficult to implement. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Infection Control FAQ, Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfection, and More
April 9, 2020

News briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19 cover infection control FAQ, guidance on cleaning and disinfection, and more. READ MORE

NIOSH: COVID-19 Among Potentially Life-Threatening Infectious Diseases for Emergency Responders
April 2, 2020

NIOSH has added COVID-19, the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), to its list of potentially life-threatening infectious diseases to which emergency response employees may be exposed. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup for April 2: Resources for First Responders, Crisis Standards of Care, and More

April 2, 2020

Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

Duke Health to Decontaminate N95s with Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor
April 2, 2020

A forthcoming paper in Applied Biosafety describes the efforts of scientists affiliated with the Duke University Health System to validate a method for decontaminating N95 respirators with vaporized hydrogen peroxide. READ MORE

To Protect Workers, Healthcare Facilities Turn to Extended Use, Reuse of N95s
April 2, 2020

As healthcare facilities across the United States adopt practices once considered unthinkable, such as reuse of N95 respirators, to protect workers coping with a surge of COVID-19 patients, occupational health and safety professionals are working to ensure these practices are implemented as safely as possible. READ MORE

Coronavirus Research from JOEH
April 2, 2020

Taylor & Francis, the company that publishes the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene as well as several other scientific journals and ebooks, has launched a website that provides free access to research related to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup for March 26: Training Tool, PPE Calculator, and More
March 26, 2020

Here are the latest news briefings on COVID-19 from The Synergist. READ MORE

CDC: Asymptomatic Transmission Contributed to Severity of Cruise Ship Outbreak
March 26, 2020

Nearly half of the passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested positive for the new coronavirus did not have symptoms at the time of testing, according to a new report from CDC. The Diamond Princess was the setting of the largest COVID-19 outbreak outside China in the early stages of the pandemic. READ MORE

CDC Releases Return-to-Work Criteria for Healthcare Professionals with COVID-19

March 25, 2020

CDC has released interim guidelines intended to aid state and local occupational health programs and public health officials in making decisions about the return to work of healthcare professionals with known or suspected COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC Investigates COVID-19 Hotspot Centered on Wash. Long-Term Care Facility
March 19, 2020

CDC released the findings of its investigation of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak cluster centered around a residential long-term care facility in King County, Washington state. READ MORE

OSHA Temporarily Adjusts Guidance for Respirator Fit Testing During COVID-19 Outbreak

March 16, 2020

OSHA released temporary guidance on fit testing N95 respirators before their use by healthcare personnel caring for known or suspected COVID-19 patients. READ MORE

OSHA Publishes Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for Coronavirus
March 12, 2020

On March 9, OSHA published a document titled “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” a set of recommendations intended to help employers prevent or slow occupational spread of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. READ MORE

CDC Advises Healthcare Facilities to Prepare for Community Transmission of COVID-19
March 5, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released interim guidance for healthcare facilities that recommends preparing for community spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. READ MORE

COVID-19 Outbreak Slows in China, Climbs in Korea, Italy
February 27, 2020

Statistics from the World Health Organization show a decline in mainland China of newly reported cases of COVID-19, but spread of the virus is accelerating in other countries, with 459 new cases outside China. READ MORE

CDC Adds Resources for Healthcare Workers Potentially Exposed to Coronavirus
February 13, 2020

Resources released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer guidance related to respiratory protection for healthcare workers potentially exposed to the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, last December. READ MORE

WHO Declares Public Health Emergency Over Coronavirus Outbreak
January 30, 2020
The World Health Organization’s director-general has declared a public health emergency of international concern over the ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. READ MORE